It’s a time for celebration!
Tuesday was the 22nd anniversary of attaining my correct weight and Wednesday was the 62nd anniversary of attaining my first breath.
Now, I realize that – on the grand scale of things – 62 is not that old, and should you be in your seventies, eighties, or nineties (God bless your genetics) please forgive me, but as I’ve pointed out before, this is the oldest I’ve ever been, causing some introspection. Please indulge me.
Understanding that 62 is a milestone in the fact that — if I so choose — I can now legally, officially, get a monthly Social Security check gave me pause to consider other life markers yet to come — and those long gone.
When I turned ten, realizing I was now in double digits, I was convinced I was “mature.”
Thirteen was significant, as I became a man in the eyes of Judaism, having my Bar Mitzvah. I turned 18 the year that we were allowed to vote; 19 put me eligible for the draft; 21 let me drink (legally); at 25, I could rent a car; 30 brought with it a sense of adulthood and 40 locked it in. At 50, the right of passage was the AARP card showing up in the mail.
Growing up listening to the Beetles’ “When I’m 64” makes that year significant. At one point, it seemed worlds away; now it’s knocking on the door. At 65, I believe I get Medicare. Passing 70 and 74 will be significant as those were the ages that my parents passed. My grandfather made it to 86; I fully intend to see that in my rear view mirror also.
Don’t misunderstand; this is in no way a tirade of the woes of aging; I’m not looking at this process at all in a negative sense (okay, maybe a wee bit).
Guilty pleasure alert! My wife and I like watching America’s Got Talent.
(Deal with it.)
In L.A.’s school district, when I was a kid, Health was a required class taken in junior high — eighth grade to be specific.
We were taught the basics of course, on how our bodies were changing and even the appropriate methods to shower and dress. And yes, there was that awkward period where our knowledge of the “bird and bees” was clarified — in great detail I might add. As almost-adults, we already pretty much knew the nuts and bolts but my memories are that it was an extremely uncomfortable week, especially since boys and girls were not separated. We were beyond the phase of snickering (at least in class) but everyone sat board straight upright, careful not to make eye contact with anyone else in the room.
I don’t know if it was a required part of the course but one thing I most remember was Mr. Hubbard took us beyond the basics and engaged us in discussions about politics, the economy, and relationships. One could rightly argue that he was as concerned with our societal health as he was with our physical health. Good for him.
A particular concept for me that has withstood these many decades is the notion of “you knows.”
Briefly summed up, we gravitate to people with whom we share more “you knows,” drifting from those with whom we don’t. Call it, “birds of a feather” if you will.
As an age example, if you’re a baby boomer, I can say,
“I never understood how they could switch Darrins on Bewitched and not explain it, you know?” You — understanding that arcane reference — can nod and say, “Yeah, I never got it either.” Someone of a younger age (or who didn’t watch Sixty’s sitcoms) would gape blankly muttering, “Huh?”
There are all manner of “you knows” ranging from locational (“Nothing puts me in perspective more than standing at the base of a redwood tree, you know?”) to spiritual (“Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I connect with my higher power and feel better, you know?”) and all and everything in between.
“You knows” bring us closer together; it’s shorthand for sharing the human experiences.
Her mother set us up on our first date.
“My daughter just graduated. She’s really creative, very cute, and, well, you’re always joking about having nothing to do on the weekends — so, I thought…”
“Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” followed by chocolate pancakes at IHOP, was our first meeting.
Within months, we lived together – much to the chagrin of her parents. Before a year passed on the calendar, we were married; moving from Redding to Bakersfield. I worked as a nighttime DJ starting at 5:00 PM. Her job began at 7:00 AM. Arriving home at one AM, I’d wake her up so we could spend time together before going back to sleep. At six AM, she’d get me up so we could do the same, before I returned to bed. When you’re in your twenties, you can do it.
Two years later, she was pregnant and we relocated to the Northcoast. A couple years passed and our second son arrived.
People who have a baby because they think it will bring them closer together are horribly misguided. The added stress and cost of childrearing, plus the loss of half our income, chipped away at our fairy tale castle. Home ownership and long work hours accelerated the decay. Dragging myself home exhausted at day’s end was her long-awaited cue to relax, leaving me with household and child chores until I collapsed on the couch. There was no “us,” only “she” and “me.”
Drifting ever further apart, we became resentful and angry. Overeating was my method of handling it; she had her own vices. Our house became an armed camp. The marriage counselor eventually recommended divorce attorneys.
For awhile we co-parented; one week “on,” one week “off.” But while I dealt with my demons through therapy and weight reduction, she followed a different road, eventually severing contact with us and moving away.
Know that my intent is not to apply blame.
The cause of our breakup was not her fault nor was it mine; together we were a mis-matched blend; never meant to share a life. Apart, who knows what would have happened? That is also not to say that many good things didn’t come from our time together.